Tag Archives: logistics

Traffic light logistics: when you become the package.

While I was studying my industrial electronics and automatics engineer degree, I had to program a cross street traffic lights for a simulation. The task was not particularly difficult (I was just programming a couple of traffic lights for an intersection), but it made me realize how difficult must be to control not just one intersection, but all of them in a big city like Valencia (or worse, Madrid).

Just in the same way in a warehouse you have to take into account the holding costs, in a intersection of streets, if the red-green light periods of the traffic lights are too long,  retentions will be created, and if they are too short, only a few cars, the ones in first line, will cross, due to the delay in the reaction time of the drivers. So a proper lenght has to be found, and it depends on the traffic flux, which is also dependent on the area, hour and day, so a constant revision of the periods is needed.

By the way, we don’t have to forget the yellow light. Sometimes are not needed, if there is no “dilemma zone“, but when needed, if it is too short, some drivers will cross in red and it may cause accidents (although it also increases ticket revenue if you put a camera).

A propper traffic light system is not a joke, the Los Angeles synchronized whole-city-traffic light system “increases travel speeds by 16 percent and reduce travel time by 12 percent. And because of reduced idling time, the city says it will save 1 million metric tons of carbon from entering the atmosphere”.

In case you wanna know a bit more about how all this works, here there is a video of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation Automated Traffic Surveillance and Control Center.

Hope next time you see a traffic light, you look at it with different eyes.

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THE POWER OF A COCA COLA

Big companies are big for some reason. Today I want to speak about Coca Cola a big company with 500 brands and more than 3,500 products. The company, as can be seen in the figure, has approximately 24 million locations with more than 900 bottling plants. So, how can Coca Cola manage the product and information flows?

First of all, Coca Cola company prepares concentrates, syrups and beverage bases. It is also the responsible for consumer brand marketing initiatives. Then, these products are sold to bottling operations. Finally, the bottling partners of Coca Cola manufacture, package, merchandise and distribute the final product to the customers and vending partners, who then sell the branded beverages to consumers.

As can be deduced from the information above, the bottling partners of Coca Cola are one of the most important part of the chain. They work closely with restaurants, movie theaters, convenience stores, among many others and then these customers sell the product to the final consumer at a rate of more than 1.9 billion servings a day.

coca cola

Figure 1. Coca Cola logistics. Source: Own elaboration.

Another interesting point which make Coca Cola a successful company is the marketing. Coca Cola needs to transmit the power of a Coca Cola so it makes announcements to achieve this. Typically, it creates advertisements that try to reach people showing situations of everyday life. Coca Cola creates different ads depending on the country and the target segment.

According with all this information, two of the most important points of the company are the logistics which facilitates the management of the product flow and permits the availability of the products at the final store, and the marketing which transmits the information to the consumer.

References:

http://www.coca-colacompany.com/our-company/the-coca-cola-system

http://www.coca-colacompany.com/

 

Aurea Jordán

Big Data: opportunities to improve Logistics and Transportation performance

One of the pillars of Logistics is data. Collecting data is not the basis of this business but according with the previous posts is very important in order to answer the questions:

  1. How much do we store?
  2. How many movements per hour do we need?

On the one hand, due to the significance of this topic I would mix the knowledge acquired in class with my own experience. In my everyday activities I’m work with a lot of data: number of datasets, classification, type of content, among others. At this moment is quite interesting mediate about these topics related with Logistics. For example: number of pallets or boxes, classification in conveyors, type of content (liquid, solid, others), among others.

According to the visit of Richard Stallman’s (http://bit.ly/1TCp62n)  at the Polytechnic University of Valencia the past 05/16/2016, let me introduce this TEDx video: Free software, free society at TEDxGeneva 2014. This video shown the implications of free software and proprietary software and suggested interesting reflexions related with the property of this systems. See Video 1 (minutes 1:55-5:38).

Video 1. Free software. <https://youtu.be/Ag1AKIl_2GM> [Accessed: 05/17/2016].

On the other hand; open data, public sector information and big data represents one of the most valuable assets of public and private organizations in order to try give an answer to this open questions introduced before. This information supported by management tools which support information flows through the entire organization like Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) could dynamize the interexchange relation between customer and supplier. See Video 2 (08:00-10:00): Using Open Door Logistics and Geographic Data to Plan Routes. In addition, I recommend visualize the Video 3: Big Data and Transport (2 minutes).

Video 2. Big Data: datasets. <https://youtu.be/kGoAHczxOsA> [Accessed: 05/17/2016].

Video 3. Big Data: Transport. <https://youtu.be/VXjDhzWfCF4> [Accessed: 05/17/2016].

Datasets related with Logistics:

Finally, let me introduce the following topic: Is the Big Data the future of Logistics?

The big data could increase the velocity of communication, dynamize the volume of this communication and ensure their viability. Nowadays Big Data represents and strategic asset strategic asset to be considered by sustainable organizations. See Video 4 (2:21).

Video 4. Big Data: Logistics. <https://youtu.be/OCCIX1cnzbQ> [Accessed: 05/17/2016].

The hidden face of logistics

As we had the opportunity to see along all our posts, logistics is everywhere and forms part in many processes in a wide variety of sectors. As a consequence, the organs transplants are not an exception. Only in our country, more than 100.000 transplants had taken place since 1965 which is the year when this practice started. Time, as usually in logistics, plays an important role in a process where coordination between all the parts involved is crucial. The aim of this post is to give a basic idea of how it works the organs transplant and clarify the existent link between this and logistics.

In first place, the organs transplant is known as a complex medical treatment where organs, tissues or cells are transplanted from one person to other i.e. a damaged organ is substituted by one that functions correctly. The process starts when the donor has been diagnosed of encephalic death and a quick call has to be made to notify this fact so it is possible to start with the organization of the organs’ offer to the different transplant teams and prepare the operatives. There is a transplant coordinator who is responsible for providing the clinical, analytical and anthropometry data with the objective of facilitate the assessment of the possible use of the organs. All the data related with the steps of the transplant and the time that takes place is pointed in a dossier.

Video about organs transplants (1:52 – 3:45)

There are mainly four aspects where logistics is involved which are, in first place, the material means that are needed for the extraction of several organs, location of the personnel and coordination of the transport. Regarding the transport, the mechanism chosen for performing this task varies according the distance which is divided in:

  • Local donor: it is in the same city than the team on charge of the extraction and transplant but in different hospital. Therefore, the coordinator of the hospital organizes the displacement.
  • Short distance: sanitary cars or helicopters are used when the distance is lower than 200 km.
  • Long distance: private flight companies are hired and in some cases the air army realizes the transport. At least two hours are needed for preparing the flight so the coordination is essential between the hospitals involved and the ONT (National organization of transplants).

Secondly, it is important the preparation of the multiorgan extraction. The organ when is take from the body needs to be cooled, clean and preserved (the conditions will change in function of the organ or tissue). It is important to have a stock of the fluids used for the preservation, a sterile container and an isotainer for its transport. In addition, the third point consists on having good intrahospital coordination in the moment of the extraction. Moreover, the last step is based on the reposition of the stock.

material quirúrgico

Image 1: Surgical material needed for the organ transplant.

To sum up, the coordination of organs transplants involves a wide spectrum of aspects such as legal, clinical, organizational and human which takes place between hospitals and governmental institutions. There are evidences that point Spain as one of the countries with the most effective model of transplants. This success can be justified by the new surgical techniques and medical treatments together with an increase of organs donated. All this cannot be possible without logistics, which is responsible for the coordination of the transplant, the transport on time of the organ, the right stock repositioning, the use of a informatics system which is able of search information and channeling reports and requests for donor and transplant, among others.

 

DRONE, ANOTHER POINT OF VIEW

Nowadays drones appear as an innovative tool with many possibilities. One of the known uses of drones is as messaging tool for transporting products. According with this use, as my colleagues mentioned before, Amazon is working on the Prime Air program where the drones are used to deliver its products to the customers. But, can drones be used for another purpose?

At present, there are many companies which offers different services related with the use of drones. Being a flightless element with suitable proportions for carrying cameras and sensors, drones are used to take aerial images and videos. In the agricultural sector, drones are used for taking pictures of the field, create 3D maps, or for phytosanitary treatments. Drones can also be used as operational support to replace the use of helicopter monitoring for prevention and control of fires, people search or first aid transport, among others.

drone

Figure 1. Phytosanitary treatment with drone. Source: Reproduced from <http://www.dronetools.es/control-de-plagas-y-tratamientos-fitosanitarios/>

The different uses of drones explained before help the logistics of the companies. A drone reduces time of delivery and costs, improves the treatment of the field, generates more security and, in general, improves life of people.

One interesting application of drones is the delivery of drugs to remote places where the people can’t achieve medicines in winter due to the snow, or because they need to travel a lot of kilometers to arrive to a pharmacy, or maybe because they are too old. This is an interesting example where a technology facilitates the distribution and at the same time the life of people.

References:

http://www.amazon.com/b?node=8037720011

http://xn--airdroneespaa-tkb.com/

http://www.dronetools.es/aplicaciones/

http://www.dronplanet.com/servicios-drone/

Aurea Jordán

P:D ratio and order fulfillment options

Our discussions in class and our cases refer currently to the topic of process and time. We also talked about the P:D ratio and although this is a more theoretical topic, it is interesting to see what is behind it.

The production lead-time P describes how long it takes to manufacture a product and the demand lead-time D could be referred to as the lead time quoted by the firm to the customer. The comparison of P and D helps a company to select a suited strategic order fulfillment option (order fulfillment is the process a company responds to a customer’s order). The main difference between the options is the way that final users’ requirements are taken into consideration.

Post 4_Table

* Pull-type production:

  • production is based on actual demand
  • assembly / manufacturing process after receiving customer order à pulled by demand
  • quantity to produce per product specification is one / only a few

* Push-type production:

  • production is not based on actual demand
  • quantity to produce per product specification is high

 

See more:

http://www.lean-manufacturing-japan.com/scm-terminology/mto-make-to-order.html

http://www.arenasolutions.com/resources/articles/engineered-to-order/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_fulfillment

https://www.cairn.info/revue-projectique-2010-2-page-41.htm

http://cachon-terwiesch.net/1e/ch10.pdf

http://slideplayer.com/slide/7940801/

Santa Claus Challenge

“Logistics doesn’t make happiness but can take it wherever is needed”

 

Regarding what professor José Pedro García wrote one day we want our colleagues to read our posts meanwhile they are waiting for the bus” I thought it could be interesting to write this time about how Santa Claus manage in modern times to deliver all the presents in Christmas. In addition, I consider that this topic is quite related with logistics. According to Unicef, there are 2.200 million of children in the world. Assuming that only the 50% of them are good kids and having in mind the world average of 2’5 children per house we can conclude that Santa Claus only needs to visit 440 millions of homes (if the good kids live together). Therefore, how he managed to guarantee that all the products are going to be delivered on time?

Nowadays Christmas campaign is not about one man flying during only 24 hours with reindeer from the headquarter in Lapland. In fact, there exist logistic centres around the world and the story behind this is more complex. Is more about designing a good business plan able to face this situation. Market research, planning, inventory, logistics and suppliers are some of the key words in this gear. During this period of time, logistics has a great relevance due the increase of commercial transactions and movement of products. Such is the case that hiring in companies of the logistic sector increase a 20% regarding the previous months.

Therefore, it can be observed a major volume of sales and as a consequence an increase of the work load. The latter affects specially transport companies which have to deliver a service with a high efficiency and great results but having the same resources of the rest of the year. Furthermore, time has an important role. The delivery of a product to a customer out of time can create a bad perception of the company. At the same time, it acquires a great value not to make mistakes in the delivery which can be avoid by using software like WMS (standard protocol for serving georeferenced map images which a map server generates using data from a GIS database), RFID technologies (allows contactless identification of objects using radio waves) or voice directed warehousing (use of speech recognition software in warehouses and distribution centers to make verbal orders)

To sum up, logistics have a huge impact in the results of cost, productivity, quality of the service and efficiency of the Christmas Campaign. It is related with the supplying, the management platform and the transport to stores. In addition, the logistics is responsible to determine the quantity needed for each product, to decide the volume of each product that each store should have and the right moment for this. To conclude, it can be said that the logistics involved in the Christmas Campaign maybe is not within reach of Santa Claus due it requires a huge planning of the supply chain and stock management.

papá noel

Image 1. Imports and exports. Icontainers. <http://www.icontainers.com/es/2015/12/03/la-logistica-de-papa-noel-en-el-s-xxi/&gt;. [Accessed: 16/03/16]